2003 Lopez de Heredia "Viña Bosconia" Reserva Rioja (Previously $35)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2003 Vina Bosconia has another enticing bouquet: hints of cooked meat, hickory, peat and rosemary that is beautifully defined. The palate is medium-bodied with firm dry tannins and a poised, lifted earthy finish with touches of soy and sea salt on the aftertaste. This deserves several more years in bottle. Drink 2018-2030+. I have adored, indeed occasionally worshiped, the wines of Lopez de Heredia for many years, so I am not ashamed to admit that visiting both their vineyard and their winery was a pilgrimage. Founded by Rafael Lopez de Heredia y Landeta in 1877, it has withstood the tide of corporatization and homogeneity, and epitomizes timeless, artisan winemaking in their own individual, almost solipsistic manner. Technology is noticeable by its absence here. For example, to quote her sister Maria-Jose at a tasting that I subsequently attended in London: 'Indigenous yeasts have adapted to high temperatures. To control the temperature during fermentation, we open doors and windows' and 'malolactic is the invention of modern winemakers.' I had to check whether this was 2012 or 1912. If you were to award points for charisma, then this producer would be in a league of its own. (NM)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(80% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, 3% Graciano and 2% Mazuelo): Medium red. Ripe red fruit, flowers and spices on the nose, with a smoky nuance emerging with aeration; very fresh for this notoriously hot vintage. Concentrated but not at all heavy, with intense red berry and floral pastille flavors and a deeper note of singed plum. The finish is bright and high-pitched, with lingering cherry and raspberry flavors and a hint of candied licorice.
If you want to learn about the benefits of patience, open a bottle of wine made by Lopez de Heredia. While the majority of Spanish estates rush their wines to market, holding on to them only as long as they legally must to call them Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, Heredia waits, and waits and waits, sometimes upwards of 20 years, releasing their wines at the peak of drinking. This comes from Bosconia, one of the winery's four organically farmed vineyards. It is deep ruby, with orange tints at the rim. The nose is still full of fresh fruit and perfume, with subtle spice and great freshness that belies the incredibly hot vintage that is this wine's source. The New York Times awarded it three stars, calling it: "Delicate, subtle and true, with great balance and finesse." This is perfectly aged Rioja, no cellar required.